The value of the UK beef production is over £2 billion annually. (ukagriculture.com) Badgers are one of the primary carriers for bovine tuberculosis, which is considered of little threat to humans, but is consistently a large cost for cattle farmers. To combat this rising cost, a badger cull was proposed by UK lawmakers. A tuberculosis vaccine for cows would seem like the obvious alternative, but the existing vaccine is not fit for human consumption, leaving the only viable options, kill the badgers or vaccinate them.
In October of 2012 The UK Parliament voted to approve culling the badger population in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset, considered to be a pilot program to control animals with a high probability of infection. The original target rate was a 70% cull of the population, was not even approached, as only 40% were killed even though the deadline was extended to November 30th.
Despite the obvious shortcomings of this year’s pilot badger cull program, one must ask why bovine tuberculosis is such a prominent issue in UK politics. A £100 million taxpayer price tag to compensate farmers for tuberculosis infected cattle is all the answer you need. (Richard Black BBC) Keep the wallet full by keeping the badgers down, that’s what I always say.